GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot dies; a look at an unusual band
Smoot, who joined the satirical, science-fiction-inspired band in 2002 as Flattus Maximus, was found dead by his bandmates as they were crossing the border into Canada on their North American tour, news sites report.
The longtime band may be obscure to most Americans, but it had a devoted following and recently appeared on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" to plug its current tour. (See video below.)
That tour will go on, according to the Edmonton Journal, with the band performing in the city Friday. The Journal included this statement from band frontman David Brockie:
"Cory was found deceased this morning as the band prepared for a border crossing. There is no word as to the cause of death and the members of Gwar are completely shocked and devastated that this has occurred."
GWAR started in Richmond, Va., in the early 1980s. The band is known for its wild, alien-themed costumes, a stage show that incorporates plenty of fake blood and a creative bio that includes being banished to Earth billions of years ago and being responsible for killing the dinosaurs. In 2006, the band's costumes even spurred a gallery exhibit.
In 1994, the Los Angeles Times interviewed the band as it was introducing a new album, "This Toilet Earth," and a full-length film, "Skullhead Face."
Besides the sonic musical onslaught, there's a stage full of outrageous costumes and props and lots of ugly people with sharp instruments. And blood -- lots of blood -- fake blood, to be sure, but don't stand too close to the stage. ... Whether GWAR is a menace to society with no redeeming social value or just another boys-will-be-boys band gone nuts is unclear, but the fellas do have fans. Lots of them.
Smoot's cause of death and age were unknown. He reportedly produced GWAR's last two albums, and Brockie called him "one of the most talented guitar players in metal today."
-- Amy Hubbard